Jorge Elorza


Providence students plan to demonstrate at Providence City Hall today. They’re calling for Mayor Jorge Elorza to provide bus passes for students who live two miles or more from school. Students say they must currently live two and-a-half miles from school, at minimum, in order to qualify for free bus passes.

Roselin Trinidad is a senior at Central High School, and a member of the Providence Student Union, the education advocacy group putting on the protest.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said Thursday an independent analysis shows Rhode Island's capital city will face a stream of annual structural deficits of between $11 million and $19 million, starting in July 2016, and he called for new steps to strengthen the city's financial standing.

State revenue is up, the Sox are down, and Friday is here. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week-long on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender / RIPR

The lineup has been announced for the first annual Providence International Arts Festival.  Part of the idea is branding the city as a national cultural destination.

The festival will take place over four days this June, and will feature more than 500 artists. International headlining acts include African singer Angelique Kidjo and the Mexican Squonk Opera.

Even with international headliners, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza stressed that festival will showcase dozens of local acts.

So Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza wants to build a trolley system. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says this is a great idea, but can the city afford it?

Sure, it would  be wonderful to jump on a Providence  trolley system and ride from Brown University, down historic College Hill, to Rhode Island Hospital..

One can even imagine taking the trolley to a spanking new retro baseball stadium along the Providence River to watch the Boston Red Sox top minor league team.

The month of May is here, bringing a heightened focus on Gina Raimondo's proposed budget and the PawSox proposal. So thanks for stopping by, and feel free to share your tips & thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Elisabeth Harrison

Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi has announced she will not return for another school year. 

The announcement comes with only about two months left in the current school year. Superintendent Lusi declined to be interviewed for this story, but in a press release, says she wants to pursue other professional opportunities.

After four years leading Providence schools, Lusi touts improvements in the high school graduation rate and reading scores.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says the school board will begin an immediate search for her successor. 

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his budget; tax stabilization agreements; the search for an economic development director; the Superman Building; snow-removal; and much more.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss his budget proposal for the fiscal year starting July 1; the PawSox' proposed Providence ballpark; and the takeaways from recent events in Baltimore.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he was racially profiled by police "countless times" as a youth and young man in Rhode Island's capital city.

"It's just part of growing up in the city -- which is very unfortunate and sad," Elorza, a son of Guatemalan immigrants, said Thursday during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable. "I've been pulled over a number of times, so I'm sensitive to that."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Wednesday touted his proposed $696 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 as a way to continue the capital city's financial recovery while making it more business-friendly.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is slated to deliver his first budget address Wednesday. The capital city is facing a sizeable deficit.

The budget hole could be as large as $23 million. That’s a lot less than the deficit former Mayor Angel Taveras called a fiscal hurricane, but it’s still a significant gap to fill.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has pledged to cultivate broad-based economic growth, while holding the line against tax increases. Complicating the outlook is the fact that Providence needs to negotiate new contracts for teachers and municipal workers.

John Bender / RIPR

The owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox plan to unveil Wednesday afternoon their proposal for building a new ballpark in Providence. Some observers are excited about the move to bring professional baseball to Rhode Island’s capital city. Yet others are wary about using public dollars for a private enterprise. There’s also debate about using part of a site targeted for high-wage jobs.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A legal maneuver has blocked, at least temporarily, the City of Providence’s attempt to wipe out business permits for the Shark Bar and Grille.

The city targeted the Thayer Street establishment because of bribes paid to former House Speaker Gordon Fox.

The Superior Court has appointed a receiver for the bar, following a request from the bar’s owners.

The move means the judge is in control of the bar for now, and the city License Board can’t go after the permits. 

Lawyer and former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss the state pension dispute, government reform, Providence finances, public education, and more.

For more Flanders, listen to his conversation with us on Political Roundtable.